Gaines, William Baxter Pendleton (1808–1891)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer

Type: Biography

Published: July 23, 2008

Updated: August 17, 2014

William Baxter Pendleton Gaines, planter and legislator, was born on September 17, 1808, in Abbeville, South Carolina, son of Benjamin P. and Elizabeth (Ware) Gaines. He taught school in Marengo County, Alabama, until 1832 when he became a merchant in Demopolis, Alabama. He was approached to enter into a business arrangement in Texas, and on August 6, 1835, he established himself in Nacogdoches. By October 1835 Gaines was a wealthy man. He contributed money to the Texas Revolution and served as an officer in the volunteer force from Nacogdoches under Gen. Thomas Rusk that marched to reinforce the siege of Bexar. Gaines acted as a commissary and quartermaster. After the army reorganized, Gaines returned to Nacogdoches to serve as the deputy paymaster general. After the battle of San Jacinto acting Commander in Chief General Rusk named him paymaster general of the Texas Army.

Gaines left the army to pursue other opportunities and lived in Galveston while studying law under John B. Jones. He was admitted to the bar in 1840. In 1842 he moved to Brazoria County with a large number of slaves and began a cotton and sugar plantation. By 1860 Gaines had 47 slaves working on his plantation. In 1846 he joined the United States Army to fight in the Mexican War. He fought with distinction during the battle of Monterey and was awarded a sword for gallantry. In 1850 Gaines married Eugenia Gratia Harris of Charlotte, North Carolina. They had five children. Gaines and his family were devout Presbyterians. Gaines, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Sixth Texas Legislature in 1855 for Brazoria County. When Texas chose to secede from the United States, Gaines strongly supported the decision, and when the Civil War broke out, he left his plantation to join the Confederate army. Despite his age he was elected colonel of the Second Regiment of the Sixteenth State Militia Brigade on August 31, 1861.

After the war Gaines continued to run his plantation until 1868 when he leased his land and began to buy and sell cotton in Calvert and Galveston. In September 1872 Gaines retired from business and moved to Austin to live with his son, William P. Gaines. William B. P. Gaines died in 1891.

Brazoria County Rootsweb (, accessed August 21, 2006. Brazoria Genealogy Forum (, accessed August 21, 2006. Lewis E. Daniell, Types of Successful Men of Texas (Austin: Von Boeckmann, 1890). Family Search, "William Baxter Pendleton Gaines," (, accessed August 21, 2006.

  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
  • Sixth Legislature (1855-1856)
  • House
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephanie P. Niemeyer, “Gaines, William Baxter Pendleton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 23, 2008
August 17, 2014

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: